(CNN) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory in a referendum over a new constitution that will make him far more powerful, potentially for many more years to come.
Turkey won, the beloved people won”, Mr Yildirim said, adding that “a new page has opened in our democratic history with this vote. “The entire resources of the state were at disposal to support the “Yes” campaign of the AK Party”.
– Frederike Geerdink (@fgeerdink) April 16, 2017Threats, oppression, imprisonment, censorship, defamation – and yet half of the people of Turkey voted #Hayir.
Erdogan cast his vote with his wife Emine and other family members at a school near his home in Istanbul.
“I believe our people will walk towards the future by making their expected decisions and by casting their votes inside [Turkey] and overseas”, Erdogan said. “That is why it is very significant”. Also, the change would lower the minimum age for lawmakers to 18 from 25, increase the number of seats in parliament from 550 to 600, close down military courts, and introduce same-day parliamentary and presidential elections every five years. Erdogan blames the putsch on exiled US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a one-time ally turned archfoe.
Erdogan supporters gathered outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul to celebrate, sending fireworks into the night sky.
The leader of the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP), Turkey’s largest opposition grouping, said his party would “never accept” the result.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who voted in Izmir, told reporters: “Whatever the result may be, it will be highly respected by us”.
“I don’t think one-man rule is such a scary thing”.
In Istanbul, hundreds of demonstrators opposed to the amendments marched in a central neighborhood late Sunday, clanging pots and pans.
Keman Kilicdaroglu, the head of the country’s main opposition party, questioned the results.
Turkey’s lira firmed to 3.65 to the dollar in Asian trade following the referendum, from 3.72 on Friday.
Beyond changing the government system, the vote could also have even wider implications for Turkey which joined North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1952 and for the last half-century has set its sights on joining the European Union.
The board said it had changed the rules after receiving complaints from voters that they were given voting papers in envelopes without its stamp.
Erdogan called the moves “Nazi acts” and said Turkey could reconsider ties with the European Union after many years of seeking EU membership.
Millions of Turks voted on a controversial new draft constitution that would give sweeping new powers to the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Among the changes mandated by the referendum’s “Yes” result will be the elimination the office of the Prime Minister, and allowing Mr Erdoğan to cement his grip on power.
With the closely watched referendum over, analysts say the bitterly divided nation will now see the end of polarisation.
“This campaign was not carried out fairly and equally”, Demirtas, who was arrested last November on terrorism charges, said in a joint letter with other detained HDP members which was read out at the rally.
Erdogan’s supporters say the new system will not limit political and judicial oversight.
Meral Bostan considers herself a firm believer in Erdogan, one of his many die-hard fans in Turkey, saying that she voted “yes” in the referendum because the president insisted it was what the country needed. It gives the President authority to annul parliament and declare an election.
Turkey has also suffered renewed violence between Kurdish militants and security forces in the country’s volatile southeast, as well as a string of bombings, some attributed to the Islamic State group, which is active across the border in Syria.